MMJ gets an overhaul in Michigan … A Chris Christie shocker in NJ … And the latest polls show more of the United States will legalize the leaf in 2016.
Read all about it in the HIGH TIMES weekly Law & Politics Roundup for September 19
What: Regulations and Edibles
Michigan’s medical marijuana program finally appears to be on its way to getting some new regulations. A legislative package intended to fix some of the problems in the state’s medical marijuana law is before Gov. Rick Snyder after clearing both chambers of the state legislature. The bills were designed to establish a new tax system as well as develop some additional rules regarding the cultivation, sale and transportation of medicinal cannabis. But perhaps the best part about this extensive overhaul is that it would once again legalize edible forms of marijuana. There are some concerns that the new regulations could cause pot prices to skyrocket, while others believe the changes are necessary to ensure the state’s 210,000 registered patients are receiving maximum benefit.
What: Polls Show Recreational Reefer on the Horizon
Some of the latest polling data shows that Arizona will likely be successful in legalizing recreational marijuana this November. Recently, the Morrison Institute for Public Policy found that 50 percent of the voting public supports Proposition 205, while 40 percent are opposed. This is similar to what happened back in 2010, when 51 percent of the voters passed the state’s medical marijuana law. Proposition 205, which is being overseen by the folks at the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, would allow the state to establish a fully legal cannabis industry similar to what is currently underway in Colorado.
What: RIP Legalization
It’s official. The initiative to put recreational marijuana on the ballot this November is dead for 2016. Last week, a federal judge denied a petition to delay the printing of Michigan’s election ballots, which supporters needed to happen to give them time to take their case to the Supreme Court. U.S. District Court Judge Linda V. Parker said she would not entertain the request because “it’s really too late to have an effect.” Federal law requires absentee ballots to be mailed out by September 24. This was MILegalize’s last chance at getting hundreds of thousands of signatures reinstated after the state legislature passed a law over the summer clarifying its 180-day rule. Although the group submitted 354,000 signatures, most of the petitions were gathered outside the 180-day window. Organizers have since been pushing the courts to allow their campaign to move forward, but not a single judge has been sympathetic to the cause. MILegalize will most likely be forced to revaluate its campaign and try again in 2018.
What: Survey Says State Will End Prohibition
A couple of new polls released last week say more than a majority of California voters are anxious to bring an end to prohibition in the Golden State. One conducted by Survey USA found that 52 percent of the state’s voters support Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, while another from the Los Angeles Times shows the public’s backing closer to 58 percent. Earlier this month, another survey conducted by CALSPEAKS Opinion Research Center discovered that an impressive 71 percent of the state’s voting public plan to turn up in November to support the initiative. Although there is some skepticism within the community over whether this is the right proposal for California, a survey from the Institute of Government Studies at the University of California, Berkeley shows that most of California’s voters are simply ready to legalize for recreational use. This unwavering support almost guarantees that California will pass Proposition 64.
Where: New Jersey
What: Governor’s Surprise
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie shocked the masses last week when he signed off on a measure allowing people with post-traumatic stress disorder to gain access to the state’s medical marijuana program. The news of this development was indeed a surprise, especially since the bellicose Christie has dismissed other program expansion efforts to be a “front for legalization.” The new law, which is effective immediately, will allow veterans and other people suffering from PTSD to use medical marijuana, but only after a physician or a psychiatrist has determined that all other traditional treatments were unsuccessful. Christie’s support for Assembly Bill 457 makes New Jersey the 18th state to allow PTSD sufferers to use medical marijuana.
What: Polls Show Legalization in a Tight Race
The latest poll from Massachusetts public radio station WBUR indicates the initiative set to go before the voters this November has close but promising support. The survey found that 50 percent of the voting public supports Question 2, while 45 percent say they oppose. That’s a five-point lead, but well within the poll’s 4.4 percent margin of error. A whopping 80 percent of the respondents said they did not feel using marijuana was morally wrong. If these numbers are any indication to what will happen during the election process later this fall, supporters of Question 2 could find themselves in a nail-biting frenzy.